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Grazette Newsletter - November 2012

Web graphic: New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative - Grazette Newsletter

November 2012 Edition

This is the time of year when pasture-related events are few and far between, so our events section is mainly advance notices. Please be sure to write down or save the information for those events you might be interested in attending, as an early pre-registration is often required for events that fill up quickly.

Please continue to send in notices of pasture walks and workshops by three days prior to the end of each month. The Grazette is distributed monthly.

Upcoming Pasture Workshops and Related Events

Barley Fodder Feeding for Organic Dairies Webinar

When: Tuesday, November 27th – 2:00 PM Eastern Time (1PM Central, 12PM Mountain, 11AM Pacific Time)

Organic dairy farmer John Stoltzfus has worked over the past few years to perfect his method of growing barley fodder on his New York farm. In this webinar, he and Fay Benson of Cornell University will discuss the benefits and challenges of growing and feeding fodder to dairy animals. Other animals (from horses to chickens) also have benefited from the practice and their owners may be able to adopt the principals addressed in this webinar. You can register at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Web page.

Web link graphic: Grazing Lands Conservation InitiativeAdvance Notice

5th National Conference on Grazing Lands

When: December 9th to 12th
Where: The Caribe Royale, Orlando, Florida

Hosted by the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, the conference objective is “To Heighten Awareness of the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Grazing Lands”. The target audience includes producers, academics, consumers, government agency officials, conservationists, environmentalists, urban based resource interests, grazing land managers, landowners, and others interested in effective natural resources management.

The 5th National Conference on Grazing Lands (5NCGL) is designed to provide a forum for discussions and exchange of information, technology transfer, identification of research and program needs, marketing of products, services, and other benefits of grazing. Concurrent sessions are broken down into four “tracks” of western, central, and eastern grazing lands, as well as dairy grazing land management. Web link graphic: Fifth National Conference on Grazing Lands

Come learn how sound, scientific technical assistance can help you improve your management systems and how you can increase public awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of grazing.

For more information and to register, visit the 5th National Conference on Grazing Lands Web page.


5th Anniversary Winter Green-Up Grazing Conference

When: January 25th and 26th, 2013
Where: The Century House, Latham (Albany County)

Mark your calendars now for this conference that promises to be packed full of information and great speakers. One will be Steve Kenyon, a Holistic Management Educator/practitioner from Saskatchewan, Canada will discuss, in two separate sessions, the business and the practice of custom grazing cattle for profit. Additionally, Steve will touch upon winter management techniques that will have direct application to those of us in the cold Northeast.

Web link graphic: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany CountyAlso on the agenda is Jerry Brunetti, founder of Agri-Dynamics and a dairy nutritionist and expert in human nutrition too, is going to discuss these two intimately related topics of animal and human health. If we are what we eat, then we are what our animals eat. The more diverse the plants available to our dairy, beef, and small ruminant animals, the healthier they are and by extension the more healthy we can be by only consuming those grazed/grass-fed animals or their dairy products. Jerry will explain in amazing but accessible detail how these plant/animal/human interactions have direct and measurable impact on our health.

For more information please e-mail Gale Kohler at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County or call 518-765-3500 or e-mail or Morgan Hartman.

2013 Northeastern Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) Winter Conference

Web graphic: NNOFA-NY Winter Conference. This year's theme is When: January 25th to 27th, 2013
Where: Saratoga Hilton and City Center, Saratoga Springs (Saratoga County)

This is the 31st annual Organic Farming and Gardening conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Resilience”.Web graphic: Northeast Organic Farmers Association of New York

Visit the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) Web site for more information as it becomes available.


Pasture News

Learning from Drought – Part One of Two

For most parts of New York there has been a dry deviation from normal precipitation during this year’s growing season. While much discussion has focused on coping with shortages of forages in pastures and grazed hayfields to keep up with livestock nutritional demands, the issues of the dry spell most of us experienced did not stop there. Among the other concerns has been adequate yield of water supplies. Providing ample volumes of water to thirsty livestock is paramount for animal comfort, health, and performance. Finding troughs empty, tipped over, or milk cows drawing more heavily from the barn waterers put farmers in immediate crisis mode. Since we are just about concluding the 2012 grazing season, except for stockpiled forages and winter annuals, perhaps this is a chance to evaluate what options may be available to avoid anxiety the next dry spell or bona fide drought brings. And irrespective of your views on global warming, those conditions will return again; it’s only a question of when.

Droughts often deliver a double and in some cases a triple whammy for farmers. Not only do supplies thin out but livestock’s dietary requirements greatly increase. Animals cope with heat stress partly by dramatically expanding their water intake (consumption can jump more than two fold). While the water contained in fresh forage “on the stem” declines slightly in dry conditions, since so much of it is required to attain dry matter intake (DMI) goals, even a little less moisture can result in large drop in water intake direct from grazing. So the disparity between how much is on hand and what needs to be provided expands. And then if irrigation is relied upon to coax forage growth, that puts an additional tremendous burden on the supply. As an example, just to put a single inch of water on one mere acre of land would require 27,154 gallons. You could completely empty a typical 1/4 surface acre dike pond with a single application of an inch on a 20 acre field.

Being prepared for another low precipitation period relies on similar steps that are used for ensuring sufficient forage availability; enhancing delivery capability and developing a realistic back up strategy. Two considerations come to mind for the existing source. First, how much reserve capacity exists to tie over for relatively brief periods of dry weather. The approach utilized varies according to the type of water source. When spring developments are the supply, adding another water storage vessel (usually buried) can be a big improvement for the cost incurred. Unfortunately when it comes to dike ponds, the choices are scant and more is involved. Outside of rebuilding the entire pond larger, the only other option might be to excavate further within the impounded area below normal water level. However, this typically requires temporarily drawing down the water in the pond and gains storage only at a one to one ratio (must remove one full cubic foot of soil for every extra cubic foot of water). Livestock dependent on limited access watercourses have virtually no way for increased storage since it is a flowing system. Excavation of a pool in the stream will require a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permit and likely not remain deep for long as silt and gravel will eventually fill it in. For actively pumped systems, adding on another or replacing with a larger pressure tank becomes a very costly improvement for what you get. However, setting up a large volume non-pressurized storage tank with secondary pumps & controls does offer significantly greater extension of watering for the capital expenses involved.

Web image: To be continued in DecemberContributed by Rob DeClue, Chenango County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and New York State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (NYS-GLCI).





Web graphic: Graze New York logoWant to submit an event? Interested in subscribing? Simply send an e-mail to Karen Hoffman with your event information, or with the subject line of "subscribe" to be added to the distribution list. If submitting an event listing, please submit it three days before the end of the month prior to the date scheduled, as this newsletter will only be generated at the beginning of the month. Not interested? You may also "unsubscribe" by sending an e-mail to Karen Hoffman, with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Brought to you by the New York State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. The Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative is a grass-roots coalition of producers, agricultural industry, and conservation groups with an interest in the sound conservation of private grazing lands. The goal of this newsletter is to increase awareness of grazing events around New York and in neighboring states, as well as to provide information that is useful on the farm. For more information on GLCI, check out the national GLCI Web site. Information on the NYS GLCI can be obtained from GLCI Coordinator Karen Hoffman.

For information on facilities or services, or to request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids at meetings, please contact the individual listed for the event at least ten days prior to the meeting date.

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